When you begin to work on a new (especially large-scale) project, organizational moments themselves look quite intimidating. Despite all the possible challenges, take a deep breath, count 1,2,3 and think carefully about the particular task the team is supposed to solve and what’s the team role within the project frames? Clear targeting and coming up with first juicy ideas will set you a decent start on the way to forming a successful development team.
In-house team vs remote one: which software development model is better?
Ideas for a new software implementation vary from compact specific digital tools to complex eCommerce platforms and websites. For that reason, you’ll need to decide whether your staff works in-house or in an outsourced way. Even though there’s no 100 percent straight method to tell which of the models will suit your project the best, let’s discuss pluses and minuses of both notions.
In-House Development: Benefits and Drawbacks
Having an in-house development team on board, you squeeze your software fulfillments to the fullest extent by delegating developers who can quickly adapt to changes and turn one simple idea into the ready-made product. Specifically, benefits of in-house development model are:
- A team which is keen on organizational nuances. It’s logical that developers who are regular employees rather than part-time staff members will be aware of the organizational skeleton on a better level and will be more stimulated to cater for your executive requirements.
- Flexibility and adjustment skills. Both in case of working with a project from square one or just redirecting the flow where the project goes, in-house developers can adjust to any circumstances rapidly without losing precious time.
- Direct communication. There is no need to scroll the bunch of e-mails or SNS messages in order not to lose vital pieces of information. Why? Because all conversations and discussions with developers can be done much more conveniently and face-to-face.
Nevertheless, in-front development has a couple of drawbacks too:
- High expenses. Without any shadow of a lie, it’s true that in-house developers maintenance is an expensive task to cope with. Besides salaries, you should also consider office rent payment, taxes, software licenses, benefits and it’s obviously not a piece of cake.
- Frequent staff turnover. In recent years, demand for software development talent has risen even higher, which has caused, on the other side, a constant process of employees coming and leaving for better opportunities. And this, in turn, results in project delays and extra expenses to hire new developers.
- Struggles with obtaining talent. It can be rather hard to find developers who fit perfectly into a team. Taking into account high demand for top-notch professionals, proper budget to “buy” such talents and the wish list of certain requirements, it may take longer than you expect to meet those goals.
Outsourcing Development: Pros and Cons
The key feature of outsourcing development is appealing to an external salesman so as to deliver their software needs. Overall, the advantages of outsourcing include:
- Reduced expenses. Relying on office costs absence and the chance to choose qualified developers from different countries all over the world taking into account profitable financial situation, outsourcing development model is obviously on top here.
- Fast and easy talent obtaining. Contrasting with in-house developers’ hiring possibilities, the outsourced market is vaster and more diversified. It means that you can hire an experienced team with the needed skill set a lot faster.
- Advanced research and development processes. Outsourcing companies are good at innovating and introducing new products and services. Experienced production process and credibility for delivering results became beneficial advantages of outsourced development team models.
Predictably or not, remote development model has some disadvantages too. Here they are:
- Gap in communication. All difficulties concerning keeping in touch with developers depend on your salesman’s location. You might face time zones differences or language barriers. Fortunately, this can be diminished by using digital means of communication or instant messages for conducting team meetings.
- Security threats. The wrong choice of salesman or failure to protect properly your confidential project-related material leads to disappointing consequences. Be watchful and avoid risks of falling victim to industrial espionage.
Team type defining: generalists, specialists or hybrid?
Supposing that you have already chosen your software development type. The next crucial step is to decide whether you need generalists, specialists or both (hybrid type)? It’s a high time to highlight the peculiarities of all these team types.
Generalists are known for a wide range of skills, knowledge and thus competence. Instead of one, specific area of responsibility, they can enrich the value of the project in many different ways. This ability has its own pros and cons. From one point of view, generalists can be helpful while reaching back-to-back solutions, but on the other hand, they may be confused and lost if the project requires deeper knowledge in a particular sphere.
Unlike generalists, specialists are highly proficient in one field. They possess a solid understanding of the specific project area and are able to work more effectively on the narrow niche tasks. Even though specialists suit large and multistage projects which require thorough technical proficiency at all project levels, they may face some gaps in communication due to lack of understanding what other their teammates are supposed to do within a project. Furthermore, if one person with specific skills or knowledge fails to keep pace, it may negatively impact other team members’ project participation and the whole project in general.
Hybrid teams may act as the best decision while managing various types of projects. Generalists who focus on the bigger picture and specialists who deal with specific project branches form together a productive symbiosis. Well-balanced ratio of each other’s strengths and weaknesses has a clear positive influence on project development.
Choose your team size!
According to a popular “two pizzas rule”, one team should be small enough to be fed by two pizzas. In other words, a high-performing team should consist of 6-7 people. Although the rule above is not universal, because the team size in software development depends on a range of factors such as budget, deadlines, project complexity, and resources availability, if you have a large team, you should be ready to face challenges in communication. While small teams can easily interact with each other with less chief coordination, bigger teams tend to focus on keeping people updated rather than communication itself. So a good idea is to split a large team into smaller cross-functional groups led by team leads.
Team roles and responsibilities
In order to build a successful development team, you’ll need human resources of course. But how do you know who to hire? Keep in mind these key ingredients in the magical soup called “successful development team”:
- Product owner. It’s obviously a core person in the entire team. His or her responsibilities include taking care of the requests of end-users, stakeholders, liaising with customers, and most importantly – coming up with the vision of how the final product must look like.
- Project manager. He is focused on identifying project’s goals, monitoring and optimizing the work of a team and making sure that the final product is meeting all the requirements. The special emphasis here is on successful start and bringing the product to life.
- Developers/Engineers. This is where actually all the magic happens. Developers are the ones who apply their coding skills to build new software. Traits of good developers include ability to manage your time, adaptability, quick-mindedness and team spirit.
- UI/UX Designers. The last but not the least specialists needed in a standard development team are designers. They transform the initial launching concept into stunning visuals. Since designers’ occupation field isn’t limited to only creating perceptible objects, they must be knowledgeable of user interface trends and the best application for a particular project outcome.
We’ve covered so far the early stages of setting up a successful software development team, including the choice of development models, team type and size defining and also major team roles and their responsibilities. In the second part of the article you will find out how to maintain effectiveness of the development team on a certain level, what is Agile Methodology and its frameworks and get the hang of the most effective team model called “7T”.